Make Your Marketing Materials More Powerful with a Double Readership Path
That’s fascinating stuff.
For a copywriter, watching ads on the web is a porn-like activity…
I remember back in the days at the University trying to understand the difference between metaphor and metonymy… Because most wouldn’t understand, our professor spent several sessions on that. And even when it was understood, the prof would come back and explain again…
We also learned how to recognize propaganda and even though we were NEVER supposed to use propaganda (because it’s sooo baaaad) the propaganda techniques stuck with me…
At that time, I was not studying marketing nor copywriting, but cinema…
Now, I still do the same thing every day (looking out for propaganda.)
Never mind that I’m now in the advertising industry, a synonym of propaganda…
Interestingly, a lot I learned about cinema resurfaced when I started to write copy…
The first goal of copywriting is to write remarkable dry sentences to make the reader thirsty enough to drink the long sentences.
Suddenly there’s that one super-secret technique I learned that cranks up the power of my marketing material without fail…
Everyone knows that we are done with reading. Actually, the right word is not “done”, it’s “doomed”…
We prefer watching videos because we don’t have enough time to read. Interestingly, it takes about twice as much time to listen to someone reading a text than reading the same text ourself…
And I’m not joking…
To offset that, we run YouTube videos at twice the speed.
You are welcome to throw me the first stone if you don’t do that…
But even by running videos at double speed, we are not saving time because (proof that you are not reading) when we run a video at double speed, it takes us the same time to listen than to read the text…
So, when we are so proud because we found a solution to save time, it actually comes to the same…
So we are back to square one. How do we read the same text twice as fast?
Fortunately, copywriters are here to help. (More about that in a second)
Companies don’t care about copywriters until they know how much copywriters care for companies.
If you’re like most folks (i.e. in a hurry), you tend to skim & scan any text see if the material at hand is worth your time. If what you have scanned seems interesting enough and well written, and looks like that’s what you’re looking for, you might read at least some of it.
Now, maybe a quick scan might be all you need to find out what you want to know.
If that’s what you want, be on the lookout because I have a solution for you (more about that later on).
When we learn how to write a resume, we are told to start by writing a big, bold headline. Then a subhead followed by more information. Then titles in bold, a couple sentences in a slightly smaller font. The rest should be in bullet point.
You have to make the life of the recruiter easy because he is reading 1.5 gazillion resumes every day, so if your resume looks like all the others and look like it is boring, you won’t stand a chance…
Recruiters rarely read redundant resumes. They rather react to rhymes & resized razzmatazz.
The way a good resume work is that your recruiter will NOT read your resume. He will only read the headline to get an idea and maybe 2 or 3 positions you’ve had…
So, you need to structure your resume to be very easy to read.
Do we agree?
What’s the point of copywriting?
Propaganda. Being Tricky. Creativity. Deception.
That’s not the point of Copywriting.
Now in the world of readers, you have 2 types:
- the scanner or skimmer
- the analytical
The scanners are readers who “scan” your document and look for something that catches their eyes, hoping for a hook from your text.
The Analytical Readers are those who will read your content from beginning to end.
You need to make your copy for both scanners and analyticals.
I know it sounds like “how am I supposed to do this?”
No sweat, the copywriting elders have created something that we call “a double readership path” or “dual path technique” because you are writing for both scanners and analyticals.
I am going to tell you how to reach both the scanners and the analyticals.
Sadly, most writers are still writing only to suit analyticals. Their sales letters and Web pages are boring, dull, monotonous, mundane, tedious, annoying because they are filled with giant blocks of tiny text. And it looks so academic; so “The Economist.”
Have you ever read The Economist?
During my 3 years at the University to get my Master’s in language, I had to read “The Economist” every week and make a written summary of 2 texts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love The Economist, but I certainly would not use their writing style for a sales letter, email or landing page. The economist phrases are longer than a regular paragraph. So long that when you are at the end of the phrase, you don’t even remember the beginning. In one sentence, they pack 3 to 5 concepts, and it’s so dense that you could not cut it with Luke Skywalker lightsaber.
And of course, there’s no headline, subhead or bullet in sight. And I’d be willing to bet they’re losing readers’ attention—and a ton of business—as a result. Good thing The Economist is not an e-commerce website…
Thank God copywriters don’t write like economists!
Copywriters write for scanners and skimmers altogether.
For a very long time, there were a lot of journalists and writers and very few copywriters. Needless to say, journalists and writers don’t use copywriting techniques. But now that, due to the explosion of websites (more than 1 billion,) we are in dire need of copywriters some people, especially those who have studied copywriting for the internet, are starting to figure out the double readership path secret.
The secret I finally cracked is the double readership path for websites…
If your business is not on the internet, then the internet will wipe-out your business
Here is the recipe list to cook a good dual path
1. Headlines & subheads
Allows readers to get an overview of your content quickly.
The most effective and likely most typical double readership path formatting technique is bolding important text.
Using bold font on leading information makes it easier for skimmers to:
- scan the page
- get the essence of your offer
- quickly deciding about whether or reading the small prints is a good idea or a waste of time
Use italicized words to emphasize key points.
Highlighting or changing font color is an attractive technique to:
- capture attention
- make offers or other vital information stand out
Underlining emphasizes your point as well. But be sure to use underlining techniques sparingly in your online copy. In the web sphere, underlined text means a hyperlink and can confuse your readers.
USING CAPITAL LETTERS IS ANOTHER WAY TO GET ATTENTION.
Remember that this can also be misconstrued as “yelling.”
So, use capital very, very sparingly.
Don’t be afraid if some people are offended by your style… If you are pleasing everyone, you are NOT trying hard enough.
Bulleted lists are a great technique to:
- make your main points & benefits really stand out
- drawing scanners back into the copy they avoided
- prompting the download of a free report
- causing the click of a link
- driving subscriptions to your blog
- triggering the purchase of your information product
- initiating a new client relationship
Bullet points are fascinating tools to captivate readers’ attention by breaking the reading flow & speed.
If you use numbered bullets, use an odd number because studies have shown readers are more responsive to odd-numbered bullet points than even numbered bullet points.
8. Short sentences
The best readability is attained with short & broken sentences.
Shorter sentences are easier to read & easier to understand.
Short sentences improve the rhythm of copy.
The staccato rhythm of one-word sentences draws attention to each individual word.
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Smaller. Smarter. Durable. Reversible.
Reducing line length is important because it encourages web visitors to read effortlessly.
9. Line Breaks
Forget about what you learned in 7th grade English Grammar, including the Oxford Comma and the Chicago Manual Of Style!
Copywriting is not about style but efficiency!
Line breaks prevent your content from feeling too wordy and intimidating.
Don’t be afraid of one sentence paragraphs.
10. Numbers & Listicles
There’s power in numbers! Again, forget that your teacher told you to write numbers with letters “one,” “three,” “nine,” is not as visually attractive as 1, 3, 9!!!
Numbers written as numbers (not letters) make headlines boast astronomical click-throughs.
Numbers should also be used in listicles because they call out compelling statistics and aid in information processing.
Typical listicles are:
- 10 Best Sex Toys (come see how we tried them all)
- 3 Ways To Try Harder At Masculinity
- 5 Ways To Lower Your Mortgage (wait until you see #4)
- 7 Drawbacks I Didn’t Expect After my 1st Child
A headline like “10 Best Sex Toys (come see how we tried them all)” is a perfect listicle to grab your reader’s attention by the balls
11. Images & Captions
Images help communicate your message faster:
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text
- it takes 50 milliseconds to watch an image and 1 second to read the same text
According to the Pareto principle, only 20% of your copy will be read! The job of the copywriter is to make that 20% so strong that your readers will either be immediately convinced or be willing to read the remaining 80% with gusto.
That’s what blockquotes are for: to highlight the 20% more important part of your copy…
13. Dual path
Path #1 writing your text as if it were to be published as an article in a regular magazine, a letter, an academic summary… Follow the grammatical rules you have learned at school.
Path #2 requires you to transmit information leading to sell entirely through the headlines, subheads, photo captions and major boldface sentences in your copy.
Now, here’s the key to making the double readership path work:
- only highlight information that’s a prime necessity to your target market
- only highlight information to make the sale
- make a part of the text follow another path
- this path has to be able to be read on its own
So even if all your scanners do is read the:
… they get a complete story.
If you’ve done it right, your ideal client should get sucked into reading the rest of the copy too. And voila! The sale is halfway made.
If you love copywriting and want to know more to do-it-yourself, check here…
But if you love copywriting and think it’s too difficult or that you don’t have the time to do it, we also have the “Done-for-you” solution below…